Innate immune activation in the pathogenesis of a murine model of globoid cell leukodystrophy

Eric R. Snook, Jeanne M. Fisher-Perkins, Hope A. Sansing, Kim M. Lee, Xavier Alvarez, Andrew G. MacLean, Karin E. Peterson, Andrew A. Lackner, Bruce A. Bunnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Globoid cell leukodystrophy is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by the loss of galactocerebrosidase. Galactocerebrosidase loss leads to the accumulation of psychosine and subsequent oligodendrocyte cell death, demyelination, macrophage recruitment, and astroglial activation and proliferation. To date, no studies have elucidated the mechanism of glial cell activation and cytokine and chemokine up-regulation and release. We explored a novel explanation for the development of the pathological changes in the early stages of globoid cell leukodystrophy associated with toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 up-regulation in the hindbrain and cerebellum as a response to dying oligodendrocytes. TLR2 up-regulation on microglia/macrophages coincided with morphological changes consistent with activation at 2 and 3 weeks of age. TLR2 up-regulation on activated microglia/macrophages resulted in astrocyte activation and marked up-regulation of cytokines/chemokines. Because oligodendrocyte cell death is an important feature of globoid cell leukodystrophy, we tested the ability of TLR2 reporter cells to respond to oligodendrocyte cell death. These reporter cells responded in vitro to medium conditioned by psychosine-treated oligodendrocytes, indicating the likelihood that oligodendrocytes release a TLR2 ligand during apoptosis. TLRs are a member of the innate immune system and initiate immune and inflammatory events; therefore, the identification of TLR2 as a potential driver in the activation of central nervous system glial activity in globoid cell leukodystrophy may provide important insight into its pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-396
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


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